The increasing availability of mega-pixel camera-phones has persuaded online photo management company BonusPrint to introduce a service for mobile users.
BonusPrint has teamed up with mobile services company Cognima to offer a service that enables users to upload an image to a personal website with one click on the handset. Once the image is on the website it can be printed or shared with other users.
The service has bypassed the involvement of any operators, who Cognima’s ceo Simon East described as “obsessed with MMS.”
At the moment, the service is limited to Symbian phones, and to produce a decent print users need a high pixellation camera. But East is of the opinion that phones such as the Nokia 7610will become increasingly popular.
BonusPrint’s managing director Anthony Ward said opinion is split in the photographic community about the impact of camera phones. But as far as he is concerned they are a natural way for people to take immediate images, and will have an enormous impact on the photography market.
HOW THE SERVICE WORKS
From November users will be able to go to the BonusPrint website and request the service from there. The image upload software, a C++ application, will the loaded onto the phone over the air. The user then agrees tto installing the apaplication, and from then on when he takes a photo he will receive a pop-up prompt asking him if he wants to upload the image to the BonusPrint website. From there the user can order a print, store or share the image. Operators are not involved other than providing their GPRS coverage. Prints will cost from 12p per print.
East said the advantage of the system over MMS is quality and ease of use.
” People want to share their photos. But photo-messaging is hard to use and people are confused about size limits etc, and the whole MMS set-up.
“Yes if you want to share a photo with another phone then MMS is the best way to do that if you want a low quality image and can cope with all the issues of getting MMS to work.”
Ease of use of the service is crucial, East said. “Writing the application in C++ requires very low level integration,” he pointed out and keeps it very light on the phone.”
Ward said users will initially pay 1.99 a month for the basic service, which gets them the hosting, sharing, and then printing of images and products related to digital imagery. As far as Wood is concerned the threat of operators offering similar services from their own portals is minimal,
“Vodafone etc could launch a similar service but can they bring the printing expertise at 12p per print over the internet. There’s no real reason why operators have to control this space,” he said.
BonusPrint launches the service in the UK to begin with, but does have Spanish, German, French, Italian language sites.
“There are no technical issues why can’t work with a variety of networks,” East said.